LONDON: Iranian-made drones were supplied to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine in February, with further shipments of weapons expected in the future, The Guardian reported.
Ukraine’s military provided evidence to the newspaper that Tehran had supplied the weapons to its ally following the invasion, giving Russian forces the capability to destroy vital infrastructure despite suffering severe equipment losses.
Western officials told CNN that Iran had sent a total of 450 drones to Russia and would send another 1,000 units of weaponry, including ballistic missiles.
The discovery of the origins and manufacture dates of the drones came after Ukrainian military intelligence dismantled captured models, including a Mohajer-6 spy drone, which was reportedly constructed in Iran following the February invasion, a Ukrainian military source said.
“We think that Russian specialists were involved but that’s just a theory,” the source added.
“Either the Iranians went (to Russia) or they have Russian specialists working there.”
Foreign Policy Research Institute military expert Rob Lee said: “The Russians are using loitering munitions more effectively — recently some Iranian, some Russian — and if they get the surface-to-air missile from Iran, that could be significant, too.
“A lot of this comes down to trying to predict the level of external support for Ukraine and for Russia and that’s difficult.”
Iranian weapons have been used by Russia since October to neutralize more than 30 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned.
In October, Iran denied rumors that it was supplying Russia with weapons, but later admitted that it had supplied a small quantity of drones, but had done so before the invasion.